Vintage Clothing Care Guide

The 7 Essential Rules Of Vintage Clothing Care

Caring for your vintage clothing may seem like a daunting task, but nothing could be further from the truth. Whether purchased from us or your local flea market: we want you to enjoy your vintage fashion to your fullest extent. So, we carefully broke down the 7 most important rules for their proper care. Our guidelines may be stricter than your clothing labels. But that’s because those are for new clothes. The second-hand clothes that you’re buying may be decades old. Even if older fashion is of higher quality, it’s still subject to degradation. Proper clothing care will not reverse time; it only extends it. But, without further ado…

1 Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Do

You’re supposed to enjoy wearing your vintage fashion, so don’t let their care stand in the way of your passion. Don’t worry if you’re limited on time or space to do every aspect of care perfectly. Do what you can. Forego tumble dry, wash less at lower temperatures, and you’ve already extended your clothes’ life.

2 Check For Damage When Buying

Vintage clothing care starts before your purchase. The previous owner may have worn the piece almost daily for years or stored it improperly for the last two decades. You never know what conditions it endured. For the best clothing care, you should do a damage check before buying. We at the Tiny Parrot Vintage Boutique do this for you, we also repair any damage before selling. But you may not be so lucky with another seller. So, we urge you to inspect them as soon as possible. Be particularly mindful of damage in the following areas: Seams (especially in the underarm of a sweater or the crotch area of pants) Lining Buttons Zippers (and seams leading into them) Prevention is half the work. For the best vintage clothing care, fix any damage when it’s still small, or avoid buying anything that already has tears.

3 Minmize Washing

Washing not only makes them less sustainable, but it’s also bad for your clothing. Colors wash out and it puts fabrics under extreme stress. Vintage clothing care isn’t only about what you do, but what you don’t do. Here too, prevention is half the battle. Avoid getting your clothes dirty in the first place. But when that’s not feasible, grab a spot-remover for individual stains, and use a fabric spray to get them smelling fresh again. Vintage clothing care is NOT about doing more. It’s about doing LESS, smarter. For the best care, be mindful of your detergent. Use mild, fabric-specific detergents to keep colors from washing out and fabrics from deteriorating. Most importantly, minimize machine-washing. Whenever possible, hand wash your vintage pieces at low temperatures. Your clothing will thank you.

4 Avoid Tumble-Drying

When you tumble-dry clothes, it is a nightmare for their durability. For the best vintage clothing care, dry them on a rack whenever possible. However, each fabric needs to dry differently. Check out our below for more details.

5 No Direct Sunlight

For proper care, avoid direct sunlight. You should definitely enjoy your favorite summer dresses in June. Just be careful how you dry and store them. Try not to hang your vintage clothes outside to dry, and store them away from sunlight, which takes us to the next rule…

6 Store Your Vintage Clothing Properly

Proper storage is one of the most important things you can do for vintage clothes, and it takes zero effort on your part. Having a dark, dry, cool, and clean room or closet is a must. Don’t store your clothes in cardboard boxes because cardboard degrades and attracts pests. Use proper, sturdy clothes hangers for clothes you wear frequently (not wire hangers). For long-term storage, wash your clothes properly and put them in a sturdy container.

7 Know Your Fabrics

Proper clothing care is different for every fabric. Identify your fabric and use our Fabric & Laundry Symbol Guides below to apply the correct care for your situation.

In Closing

That’s it! If you weren’t a clothing care pro before, you definitely are now. For further questions, you know where to find us.

Care & Symbol Guides

Fabric Guide

Vintage clothing care isn’t only about what you do, but what you know. Fast-track your fashion care with our handy fabric care guides. Every type of fabric has its own properties and care guidelines. Get hip with the dos and don’ts for each fabric to provide the best care that you can.

Laundry Symbol Guide

Vintage clothing care isn’t just about what you do, but what you know. Fast-track your fashion care game with our handry fabric & laundry symbol guides. Every type of fabric has its own properties and care guidelines. Get hip with the dos and don’ts for each fabric to provide the best vintage clothing care.
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Viscose Care

 
  • Viscose can be machine-washed with no problem. Make sure you do to not exceed temperatures of 30 °C.
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  • Do not tumble dry. Viscose can be prone to shrinking. Lay it flat on a drying rack.
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  • Iron the fabric when it’s still damp or wet. Viscose can handle low-to-medium settings.
 

Wool Care

 
  • We recommend washing wool by hand using a special wool detergent in cold-to-lukewarm water. Your washing machine may have a wool setting, but we do not recommend using it for vintage wool.
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  • Do not put wool in a dryer. Lay it flat on a towel, outside of direct sunlight. Do not hang it to dry; the damp weight will stretch the fabric, leading to possible tears or a loss of shape.
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  • Wool can be ironed, but do not exceed 150 °C.
 

Denim Care

 
  • Avoid washing denim as much as you can. Despite its sturdy appearance and feel, it’s prone to not only discoloration but wear too. You can avoid smells by using a fabric spray. Also, use a mild detergent to spot-remove stains. In the rare case where you find yourself needing to wash denim, hand-wash it with mild detergent in lukewarm water.
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  • Denim can be tumble-dried at low speed and temperature, but remove the item before the end of the process and lay it flat to dry. This helps to maintain the shape of the denim.
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  • You can iron denim at temperatures not exceeding 150 °C using steam. Fortunately, you won’t need to worry about this often because denim rarely needs it.
 

Lace Care

 
  • Lace is a delicate fabric that you should handle with utmost care. Always wash it by hand using a mild detergent and keep the water temperature low.
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  • Lace cannot be tumble-dried. When drying it, determine whether it’s a light or heavy item. You should lay heavier items down flat to avoid stress from the weight of the water pulling on them. Hang lighter pieces of lace.
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  • Avoid ironing lace yourself. Leave any creases and wrinkles to the professionals.
 

Leather Care

 
  • Leather should not be machine-washed under any circumstance. Clean it using damp cloth and apply a hydrophobic spray for general maintenance. If you need to clean the item, it’s best left to a professional dry cleaner. Suede also, but you can clean it using a soft brush, using circular motions while applying gentle pressure to avoid damaging the surface.
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  • Leather cannot be tumble-dried. Air-dry your leather and suede by hanging it on a rack. Avoid direct sunlight.
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  • Leather and suede cannot be ironed.
 

Polyester Care

 
  • Polyester is one of the sturdier materials and can easily handle machine-washing. It’s advised to wash it at a temperature of 40 °C.
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  • Polyester’s sturdy nature allows it to be dried in any way. Though again, avoid drying in direct sunlight. It tends to dry quickly on its own, but it can be tumble-dried on light-to-medium settings.
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  • It’s not prone to wrinkling, so it’s unlikely that you’ll ever need to iron it. However, were you to iron it, do so at a lower temperature. No higher than 150 °C.
 

Satin Care

 
  • Avoid machine-washing satin. Clean it by hand using a mild detergent at a cold temperature.
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  • Satin is not suited for dryers. Lay it flat on a drying rack, approximating its natural shape as closely as possible. Avoid direct sunlight.
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  • You can iron satin, but avoid using steam or water since these can stain it. Turn the garment inside out and gently iron the creases with mild pressure. Keep the iron’s temperature low, never exceeding 150 °C.
 

Silk Care

 
  • Silk is not suited for machine-washing. Hand-wash only using a mild detergent and cold water.
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  • Silk cannot be tumble-dried. Lay it flat on a drying rack in its natural shape and avoid direct contact with sunlight.
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  • You can iron silk, but only when the garment is still wet from the washing. Turn it inside out and apply gentle pressure at a lower/moderate temperature, not exceeding 150 °C.
 

Acrylic Care

 
  • For vintage acrylic, we recommend hand-washing at low temperatures, using a mild detergent.
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  • Acrylic’s sturdiness lends itself to being tumble-dried. Use a low temperature setting to avoind wrinkling.
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  • Ironing is not usually required. If you ever need to iron acrylic, put the heat on a moderate setting of no higher than 180 °C.
 

Nylon Care

 
  • Nylon can handle machine-washing just fine. Just don’t go overboard. Wash at temperatures no higher than 40 °C
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  • This is where nylon shines. Just hang it to dry. It’ll be dry and wearable in no time.
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  • Nylon can be ironed on low settings. Just make sure to avoid using steam.
 

Washing Symbols

Hand Wash

Machine Wash

Machine Wash, Permanent Press

Machine Wash, Gentle

Don't Wash

Wash at 30 °C or Below

Wash at 40 °C or Below

Wash at 50 °C or Below

Wash at 60 °C or Below

Wash at 70 °C or Below

Wash at 95 °C or Below

Wash at 30 °C or Below,
Permanent Press

Wash at 40 °C or Below,
Permanent Press

Wash at 50 °C or Below,
Permanent Press

Wash at 60 °C or Below,
Permanent Press

Wash at 70 °C or Below,
Permanent Press

Wash at 95 °C or Below,
Permanent Press

Wash at 30 °C or Below, Gentle

Wash at 40 °C or Below,
Gentle

Wash at 50 °C or Below, Gentle

Wash at 60 °C or Below,
Gentle

Wash at 70 °C or Below,
Gentle

Wash at 95 °C or Below,
Gentle

Wash at 30 °C or Below

Wash at 40 °C or Below

Wash at 50 °C or Below

Wash at 60 °C or Below

Wash at 70 °C or Below

Wash at 95 °C or Below

Drying Symbols

Tumble Dry

Tumble Dry, Low Heat

Tumble Dry, Medium Heat

Tumble Dry, High Heat

Tumble Dry, No Heat

Line Dry

Drip Dry

Wash at 50 °C or Below

Dry Flat

Do Not Dry

Do Not Tumble Dry

Natural Dry

Ironing Symbols

Iron

Don't Iron

Iron at 110 °C or Below

Iron at 150 °C or Below

Don't Wash

Steam

Don't Steam

Other Symbols

Dry Clean

Dry Clean, Short Cycle

Dry Clean, Reduced Moisture​

Dry Clean, No Steam

Dry Clean, Low Heat​

Wet Clean

Wet Clean, Delicate

Dry Clean, Any Solvent

Dry Clean, No Trichloroethylene

Dry Clean, Delicate, No Trichloroethylene​

Dry Clean, Only Petroleum

Dry Clean, Delicate, Only Petroleum

No Heat/Air

Don't Wring

Chlorine Bleach

No Chlorine Bleach

Non-Chlorine Bleach

Velvet Care

 
  • Velvet isn’t an unforgiving fabric. For the best long-term results, it is best to machine-wash at temperatures no higher than 30 °C.
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  • Do not tumble dry. Lay the item flat on a drying rack, retaining its natural shape.
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  • Do not iron velvet. Creases are treated by preventing them. Fortunately, velvet does not crease easily.
 

Mohair Care

 
  • This is a type of wool, so mohair requires much of the same care. Use cold-to-lukewarm water when hand-washing the item. Make sure that you use a detergent specifically for wool.
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  • Lay to dry on a flat surface. Put a towel underneath it to catch any excess moisture.
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  • Mohair is too delicate for ironing. Please avoid ironing at all costs.
 

Linen Care

 
  • Linen is incredibly fragile. Minimize washing at all costs. But when you do need to wash, hand-wash in cold-to-lukewarm water using a mild detergent.
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  • Carefully stretch out the linen by hand to avoid wrinkles. Subsequently, hang it up to dry.
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  • Iron carefully on low settings.
 

Cotton Care

 
  • Cotton is a forgiving fabric that can be machine-washed. Make sure that the temperature never exceeds 40 °C to keep your clothing from shrinking.
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  • Cotton blends tolerate tumble drying at low temperatures, but pure cotton is likely to shrink. In the absence of a label describing the fabric blend, we recommend drying cotton on a rack. Although, avoid contact with direct sunlight since this can lead to discoloration.
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  • Being a forgiving fabric, it can handle ironing at a temperature of up to 220 °C.